Person in floatie in Rocky Pool, Gooseberry Hill

Rocky Pool, Gooseberry Hill National Park, Kalamunda, Perth – Western Australia, Australia

HOW TO FIND ROCKY POOL

‘Hidden’ in Perth’s Hills lies a cute little oasis known as Rocky Pool. I’d always wanted to have an adventure here, but it’s not the easiest spot to locate. So after a few wrong turns, I’ve done the hard work for you. Here’s how to find Rocky Pool. 

Rocky Pool is located in Kalamunda in the Perth Hills along a watercourse known as Piesse Brook, which is best flowing in June and August. Begin your journey by setting your GPS to ‘Rocky Pool and NP PARKING AREA’ located on Schipp Road. 

An image screenshot of Google maps to demonstrate location of Rocky Pool NP Parking Area on Shipp Road
Rocky Pool and NP PARKING AREA located on Schipp Road. Google Maps (2020).
Rocky Pool Parking Area

From here, a Kalamunda National Park sign indicates the beginning of your hike. Strap on your hiking boots – it’s time to get walking!

When I visited Rocky Pool, my friend Morgan and I weren’t too sure if we were headed in the right direction due to a big metal gate at the start of the track – but you needn’t worry, this is just to stop vehicles from driving along the gravel road. 

Soon after our feet had trudged a little ways along the dusty gravel, we spotted some information signs about our location and the flora and fauna here, which was a good sign (pun-intended). 

We continued forward, surrounded by the stunning Australian bush, not really knowing the distance we had to travel or how to find Rocky Pool. But the surroundings were beautiful enough to soak in and enjoy along the way.  

To avoid having to spend ages blowing up our floaties once we arrived at Rocky Pool, we saved time by carrying them with us. But it wasn’t completely practical…

More information signs along the way let us know we were headed in the right direction, so we trudged on along the gravel track and crossed a small bridge and stream. 

Pay attention to your surroundings, because there are many indicators to help guide the way. 

Parts of the track were flat, while others headed steeply uphill and downhill. 

We passed rushing water with a smile – this is a good indication that Rocky Pool will be flowing. June to August is the best time for a steady stream, while September and October are good times for swimming in the warmer weather. Sadly, during November to May in summer, Rocky Pool is usually dried up. 

In the hot October sun, we headed uphill for a steep section of the track. 

But more water on either side of us reassured us that the hike would be worth the effort. 

While walking this 2km trail, the beautiful biodiverse flora and fauna surrounding us was in abundance. 

We didn’t see any animals, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t there… 

A section of the Bibbulmun track crosses here, so we knew we were in true hiking territory. 

We continued on the straight and narrow, until we found the sign we’d been looking for!

Before we knew it, Rocky Pool appeared as if from nowhere, in a clearing among the trees. The water in the pool was brimming, and we wanted to sit a while and admire the view. 

But then it was time to get a little closer. The stream was flowing clear and fresh over the rocky terrain – an indication of where this place may have got its name. 

And yet the pool itself remained as clear as glass. 

We couldn’t wait any longer, so we hopped into the freezing-cold waters. Though cold,  they were a refreshing relief from the hot sun of the day. 

Person in floatie in Rocky Pool, Gooseberry Hill

It was such a tranquil and beautiful spot where we could be immersed by nature. I highly recommend the hike! When you’ve finished soaking in the beauty of Rocky Pool, you might like to explore the nearby Lesmurdie Falls. 

Quick Facts

Last visitOctober 2017
Best TimeJune-August for flow, September-October for swimming. Dries up in summer (Nov-May)
Start / FinishRocky Pool and NP PARKING AREA on Schipp Road (return trail)
Unsealed RoadsYes, in winter months become stony and loose with wet potholes, spring time are recovered and smooth
Walking distance2kms (one way)
Time30-40mins (one way)
DifficultyModerate
FacilitiesNone
Lat & Longunknown 
NearbyLesmurdie Falls 
WatercoursePiesse Brook 

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Hovea Falls, John Forest National Park, Perth – Western Australia, Australia

HOW TO FIND HOVEA FALLS 

Nestled up in Perth Hills are some stunning waterfalls, flowing down the face of orange and red rock. If you pass the John Forrest National Park Falls, walking along the limestone gravel track, you’ll find Hovea Falls.

While this is a great way to see the falls, and walk through the John Forrest tunnel, it’s actually not the quickest way. If you’re up for a sneaky, shorter visit to the beautiful landscape home to Hovea Falls, here’s where you’ll need to go. 

Instead of driving to the Swan View Tunnel, or to the John Forrest Tavern, continue past these and head to Victoria Road. This is a no-through road, where you can pull over onto some gravel on the side of the road. From here, you should be able to see another track down the hill, so carefully make your way towards it. 

Map of Hovea Falls in conjunction with Swan View tunnel and John Forrest Tavern
Road Map to Hovea Falls. Google Maps (2019)

Doing this makes the walk to Hovea Falls a mere 500 meters (1km return), and about 15 minutes (30 minute return). Which in the Aussie heat, is a much better option. 

Once you find the orange dirt track, follow it to your left. Red dust dissipated into the air with every step we took. A bird chirped and a butterfly flew across the path. But other than that, there was silence.

It’s a gorgeous trail, full of rich history, including a few old metal bridge structures from back in the day. 

Once you pass two of them, you’re not that much further from the waterfall. 

Signs are always a comforting sight, reassuring you that you’re travelling the right way. 

Luckily the signs at John Forrest are clear cut, and there is a bridge viewing platform for Hovea Falls. 

However, when we visited in 2017, the bridge was blocked off. The fast-flowing river must have caused the old metal to rust. 

But not to worry, you can view the falls from anywhere along the path, and even trudge carefully down the grassy banks to explore them. 

In the summer months, Hovea Falls are very dry. In October, when the weather was warming up, this allowed us to hop and skip and jump on some of the rocks. Using them as stepping stones, we explored the falls. 

Since they’re a very slow, undulating waterfall, Hovea Falls are not too dangerous. In fact, they can be a great spot for a picnic if you don’t mind soaking up the sun. 

On a blue sky day, surrounded by the lush green flora that spring brought, it’s a beautiful setting. 

In the harsh summer sun, you may want to cool off in the fresh river water. It trickles down the rock face and in places, blooms with green moss. 

We explored further down the falls, discovering little pools where the water had collected. 

Don’t be afraid to check out all the different, unique angles that Hovea Falls have to offer. 

They’re certainly one-of-a-kind, and while not the most impressive falls I’ve seen, they’re still a Perth gem. 

Continue on from Hovea Falls to discover John Forrest National Park Falls

Quick Facts

Last visitOctober 2017
Best TimeJune-August after rainfall
Start / FinishEnd of Victoria Rd, John Forrest National Park
Unsealed RoadsNo
Walking distance500meters one way
Time15minutes one way
DifficultyEasy
FacilitiesNone 
Lat & Long31.8803° S, 116.0999° E
NearbyJohn Forrest National Park Falls
WatercourseJane Brook

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Swallow Cave Falls (Upper Sheoak Falls)

Swallow Cave Falls (or Upper Sheoak Falls), Great Ocean Road, Lorne – Victoria, Australia

I’d been to Sheoak Falls twice before I finally ventured further up towards Swallow Cave. Don’t ask me why, because I honestly don’t know. I won’t pass up the opportunity again.

Swallow Cave Falls (Upper Sheoak Falls)

Swallow Cave isn’t referred to as a seperate waterfall, because really it’s just the Upper part of Sheoak Falls. On the way to Sheoak Falls, there’s the option to head up a staircase on the left side, instead of walking down to the right. 

It’s here that leads to Swallow Cave.

There are quite a few stairs, with sections of flat path in between.

It’s not long before the first viewing platform appears, allowing an amazing view of what I’m calling “Swallow Cave Falls.”

Image of Swallow Cave Falls (Upper Sheoak Falls) during Chasing Waterfalls trip to Lorne

But the journey doesn’t end there. The rocky, tree root infested path continues on.

Although the cliffs in this area can be dangerous, so stick to the paths.

Which shouldn’t be hard, as the track is clearly signposted.

This track can actually continue on to Castle Rock, a rock formation on the way to Won Wondah Falls and Henderson Falls.

Yet another reminder of the danger surrounding the track…

And then the track hits the river. After extremely heavy rainfall, it would be impossible or extremely dangerous to cross.

Luckily when I visited, it wasn’t too high. Plus I was wearing my Hunter Gumboots, though they actually filled with the freezing cold water as I crossed. But I digress.

The river will look similar to this if it is safe to cross. It’s up to your judgement of how fierce the water flow is and your level of confidence.

So I carefully made my way across the river, and trudged up the muddy bank on the other side. 

Here, more signs indicated back the way I had come (presumably for hikers who began their journey at either Phantom Falls or Henderson and Won Wondah Falls, a total of 8kms or so). 

Then the signs relevant to me – indicating Swallow Cave, only 100 meters away. 

The track leads down to another viewing platform, which can be seen from the first viewing platform on the opposite side of the river.

But that wasn’t quite enough for me. I decided to take a risk and venture down the left hand side of the platform to get closer to the falls. 

I took extra care. I didn’t take any further risks by going closer to the cliff drop. The falls near Swallow Cave are relatively flat, and I made sure I only stood on dry rock. The wet rock is far too slimy and dangerous. So I don’t recommend this unless you stay far, far away from the sheer drop. 

Other than that, it was a beautiful spot to relax and watch the Swallows flit about in the air. 

I enjoyed visiting Swallow Cave Falls, because even though they were so close to Sheoak, and by no means hidden, they felt secret. They were special and unique, and involved the perfect amount of adventure to find. 

Quick Facts

Last visitSeptember 2017
Best TimeJune-Sept 
Start / FinishSheoak Carpark, Great Ocean Road 
Unsealed RoadsNo 
Walking distance Roughly 1km or less (from carpark)
Time 30mins
DifficultyModerate (stairs and river crossing involved) 
FacilitiesNone 
Lat & Long Sheoak Falls: 38.5653° S, 143.9628° E
NearbySheoak Falls, Won Wondah Falls, Henderson Falls, Phantom Falls 
Watercourse Sheoak Creek

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Carisbrook Falls visited during Chasing Waterfalls trip in Lorne

Carisbrook Falls, Great Ocean Road, Skenes Creek – Victoria, Australia

Though the viewing platform to Carisbrook Falls is a mere 500 meters from Great Ocean Road, once you’re there, you feel like you’re in a different realm. They appear, cascading down a rock face that seemingly comes out of nowhere amidst an abundant green terrain.

Carisbrook Falls visited during Chasing Waterfalls trip in Lorne

The short trail to Carisbrook Falls begins from a gravel carpark that veers off from Great Ocean Road, roughly halfway between Lorne and Skenes Creek. 

The carpark is uneven, so take it slow to avoid an extra bumpy ride. 

The beginning of the trail is clearly signposted.

Follow the track uphill, ignoring blocked off deviations such as this one. 

I visited Carisbrook Falls on my way home to Melbourne from Skenes Creek, after a 4 day Chasing Waterfalls Trip. (Itineraries for my days can be found here – Day 1 and here – Day 2). So I was exhausted. And I couldn’t imagine a waterfall being visible from here.

But I continued on. Soon I saw a river gushing far below in the valley, which gave me confidence.

I shifted my backpack, tugged my camera bag comfortably over my shoulder, and continued on. The path was short, but thin and steep. 

And sure enough, soon I saw the falls peeking through the trees.

The tiny viewing platform is quite some significant distance from the falls, but still breathtaking. Best visited after heavy rainfall, such as the case on the day I visited, the water gushes down the mountainous terrain. 

Carisbrook Falls were a pleasant, short walk with a rewarding result. I’m glad I gathered the last of my strength to pay them a visit. 

Quick Facts

Last visitSeptember 2017
Best TimeJune-July
Start / FinishCarpark off Great Ocean Road, Wongarra
Unsealed RoadsNo, carpark road a bit bumpy 
Walking distance500meters one way
Time40 minutes return
DifficultyEasy
FacilitiesNone, halfway between Lorne and Apollo Bay
Lat & Long38.6919° S, 143.8098° E
NearbySheoak Falls & Swallow Cave
WatercourseCarisbrook Creek

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Little Aire Falls visited on a Chasing Waterfalls trip to Apollo Bay

Little Aire Falls, Beech Forest, Great Otway National Park, Apollo Bay – Victoria, Australia

Little Aire Falls are worth the deviation after visiting Triplet Falls. That’s all I needed someone to tell me before I began the trek. But they didn’t, so I set out to find them, not knowing what to expect.

Little Aire Falls visited on a Chasing Waterfalls trip to Apollo Bay

After about 200meters along the track to Triplet Falls, there is a sign to Little Aire Falls. It is advised as 2.3kms, which seems easy enough. So I set off. 

The track begins thin and flat, winding its way through the beautiful forest.

It was all but quiet, the soft padding of my gumboots on the dirt and the wind rustling in the trees the only prominent sounds around me.

I then reached a staircase and metal walkway, similar to those on the Triplet Falls trail.

At this point I thought the track was quite easy. However, it soon began to undulate, up, down, up down, as it wound its way through the forest. It wasn’t long before I was puffing, the all too familiar burning sensation returning in my legs.

Lengthy sections of this trail are not signposted, with plenty of steep uphills and downhills. 

After 20 minutes or so, I hadn’t seen another soul. It was so quiet, I wondered if I was heading in the right direction. But soon I reached a small clearing with a wooden post.

I presumed it meant I needed to continue straight. But who knew?

At times, the tracks are weathered and unclear. My anxiety came roaring to the surface as the day ticked on towards the later afternoon. I wanted to make it back to Skenes Creek before dark. But I was also determined to find the falls.

I soon became stressed, glancing above at the sky, and losing energy during the steepest sections.

I seriously considered giving up and turning back, because I felt it had been further than 2kms already. My iPhone’s health tracker indicated that it had – though I had no phone service so this could have been inaccurate. But then I saw a sign. 

So I continued on, walking through the deathly quiet forest. The sky became more overcast, and the track darkened. I quickened my pace, eager for it to be over.

It was a welcome relief when I emerged from the trees, following another sign through to an open section of the trail. 

The presence of signs kept increasing here, which restored my confidence. I felt my anxiety fading away. I wasn’t on a wild goose chase after all. 

More steps appeared; more reassurance that the track was reliable.

There were quite a few stairs. My legs ached with each step. But soon I saw a metal bridge appear at the bottom and my heart leapt. Had I made it?

Sure enough, I had made it to the viewing platform, where the falls were roaring many meters below. 

I almost jumped with joy, pumping my fists into the air. I even took an Instagram video explaining my hectic hike and my happiness at the end result.

Sure, it was disappointing that there was no access to the base of Little Aire Falls, but the view was still magnificent. And luckily I have a 300mm camera lens which allowed me to zoom in and capture the detail of the falls in their immense full-flow.

I took the time to sit and admire the falls. Partly because I was exhausted, and partly because they were so beautiful. I munched on a banana and a muesli bar to recharge, and longed to be closer to the falls. 

But in all honesty, I wouldn’t have changed the hike for the world. I just wish I’d had more accurate information about the hike. It definitely felt longer than 2.3kms. But that’s why I do what I do – to help others and let them know exactly what’s in store. So be prepared for a lengthy, strenuous hike to Little Aire Falls, which at times will feel like you’re in the wrong place. I assure you, you’ll get there in the end. 

Quick Facts

Last visitSeptember 2017
Best TimeJune-September
Start / FinishPhilips Track Rd Carpark
Unsealed RoadsYes, average condition but manageable with 2WD
Walking distance5kms return to a viewing platform quite some distance from the falls NO ACCESS to base
Time3.5hrs return (if deviate to Triplet Falls, otherwise 2-2.5hrs)
DifficultyStrenuous, lots of steep undulating uphill and downhill
FacilitiesToilets and Picnic Tables
Lat & Long38.6685° S, 143.4937° E
NearbyTriplet Falls, Hopetoun Falls, Beauchamp Falls
WatercourseYoung Creek

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